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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 12:51 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
retrobike rider / Gold Trader

Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 9:05 pm
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ONLY THE BRAVE
(or the very foolish!)

Dalby and the RAC Part 1

So after weeks of planning and building up a healthy list of over 20 punters, the final National Status Event of the year was thwarted by snow. Lots of snow!
However a few hardy souls awaited news and still planned to make the ride. Last thursday saw me frantically phoning round hotels to try and find a room in Pickering as the thought of a night sleeping in the truck in sub zero temperatures lost its shine. Room booked, gear packed, bikes fettled, hip flask filled, shovels retrieved from the shed and it was time to go. Simonside Ian pulled up in his nice new van which saved me digging out mine-cheers Ian!
The journey down to Pickering itself was an adventure and a half, the main moors road closed due to an accident. Several aborted attempts were made to cross the moors on lesser roads until we headed back to Guisbro' to take the Stokesley-Helmsley road and keep away from high ground.
Several hours later we had booked in at our little B&B, bled the radiators and changed into riding gear- lots of riding gear. A short drive to Thornton le Dale followed, from where we abondoned the van and two Michelin men took to two wheels to ride the final 3 and a bit miles into the depths of Dalby forest.

It was tough going, the snow was up to the hubs for most of the ride and it only became easier once we got into the trees. It was bitterly cold and the snow was really coming down by now. The odd nip of vintage Cognac and the sound of barking BDA engines piercing the darkness spured us on and in a short time we could see the twinkle of lights through the trees as we approached the old woodyard.

There was a surprising number of spectators about, and even a burger van had made it and was making a roaring trade in hot drinks and chips. We then spent a few hours falling over (probably the Cognac) whilst watching the crews tackle the shortened stage. Some drivers were better than others and despite the deep snow and sheet ice, put on a decent show.


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Of special interest to me was car number 66, a 1967 SAAB 96 which now belongs to my good friend Richard Simpson. This is one of our old cars and one which I have spent many a hour bashing back into shape. It was due to be the second car on the road, but failed to appear. Eventually it slithered into view looking rather second hand having rolled earlier in the stage. I would be having words when we got down to service!

With feet now frozen solid, we decided to head back to Thornton le Dale and the chippy. The return ride was just as difficult- the benefit of it being slightly downhill was scrubbed out by the extra 2 inches of snow that had fallen over the last hour. Eventually we made it just before midnight and managed to get a couple of portions of scalding hot chips just before closing time. We also managed to find a phone signal and checked in to RetroBike Towers to find that most people had opted to stay at home and we would be more or less alone for the big Saturday ride, despite our protestations that the roads would be OK. A smart move by many as it would turn out!

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Torture Device

The night was young however so we decided to go to the showground in Pickering to see the cars in service and into Parc Ferme. It was good to catch up with old friends and Simonside Ian went en Francais and spent some time chatting with the many French and Belgian crews, most who had brought tarmac racers along and had not once driven on gravel never mind snow! Shell-shocked but still smiling was the theme with plenty of gallic shrugs thrown in for good measure.

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Gallic Bred

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Italian Job

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Gambler

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This year's victor?

The snow had turned the results on their head and some of the fancied runners were well back down the order. Some of the clubmen with less powerful cars and the cheaper Dunlop tyres had made the top of the leaderboard and looked good to cause an upset when the rally really got underway on the saturday.

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Escort Agency

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No Jacket Required? In this weather?


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Real OldSkool

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Shiny Happy People

Despite the conditions most of cars looked to have survived and there were no retirements. One car did sport a few bent panels though and a sheepish Mr Simpson explained how he had clipped a snow bank on a fast right hander and flipped the car into a small group of spectators, who quickly rolled him back onto the road with a loss of just under 2 minutes. One of the spectators he hit turned out to be my old navigator Graham- its a small world! The car looked battered but it went into the overnight halt with a 22 second lead in the Historic class. A few words about keeping a steady pace and keeping it on the road were had and we bade our farewells and headed back to the digs in the early hours.

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High Roller

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Pass the T-Cut

Wet clothes and boots were hung up and we were soon fast to sleep, dreaming of dusty trails and T-shirt rides under a pleasant summer sun. Tomorrow was going to be another long day.. an i will tell you all about it soon :wink:

Part 2 to follow later
Si


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:50 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:00 pm
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Location: Newcastle Upon Tyne
i dont think anyone was expecting the weather that arrived a couple of days before this event!

made our last winters outing to the dales seem like a autumn bimble it seems!

did you get any bike pics at all???? :lol: :lol:


really wanted to see those cars :x id of never made it there, let alone back.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 9:09 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
retrobike rider / Gold Trader

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There were no bikes there for me to get any bike pics of. MrLee was bringing a bike over for me but as he didn't make it i used my modern that i had taken as a back up.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 9:16 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
retrobike rider / Gold Trader

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Here you go, a bike pic.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:29 am 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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Location: Newcastle Upon Tyne
:D


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:06 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
retrobike rider / Gold Trader

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Dalby and the RAC Part 2

Saturday morning began bright and sunny and with an extra inch of snow. Togged up and full of breakfast Ian and I headed into Dalby. The road into Low Dalby was fine but the car park was empty. We tried to get up to Dixons Hollow but the climb beside Staindale Lake up to Adderstone was just too steep to get any traction. So we slithered our way back to the visitor centre to see if anyone would make it. Here we met a bloke with a rather nice mid 90's Titanium Raleigh who had tried riding the red route but had given up after just a few hundred yards.

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The road to Hell?

We waited 30 minutes but decided that no one would be joining us. As it turned out Gil and Ian_S were sat in the cafe warming up with coffee and cake :oops:

Plan B was to try and get to Dixons from the south so we made our way back to Thornton Dale to take the back road from Ebberston to Givendale. We eventually made it up yet another snow covered hill only to find a car blocking the road. Getting to Dalby looked like a no go-er.

A quick look at the map and we headed further east to try and get in via Hackness via some seriously icy roads. We got within 2 miles of Dalby and found the road blocked by 40 rally cars.

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Smokin'

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Special Patrol Guard

It looked like the Langdale stage was going to be cancelled as the snowplough had got stuck and the MOD had withdrawn permission to allow the cars over it's land to the north of the stage. We spent an hour or so chatting to the crews whilst the organizers worked out a plan. It was eventually decided to shorten the stage and send them back out via Dalby. However it was decided that no spectators would be allowed into the stage. The sun had dissapeared behind snow clouds now and as the first few cars were pushed up the hill toward the Langdale Stage we once again jumped into the van. After all the trouble we were determined to watch this damn rally!
We eventually persuaded the organisers to let us through into the stage with the cars on the promise that we were going Mountain Biking and were not at all interested in watching old cars driving fast through the snow. Lots of tapping of noses and winking did the job and we were on our way.

We still had 3 miles of hard uphill riding to do once we found somewhere to park. But determined we were and with a mixture of riding and pushing we eventually made it to the end of the Langdale stage. Here we abandoned the bikes under the care of the timing team and headed into the stage on foot.

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Ice Road Trucker

I have to say that it was well worth the effort. the snow was really coming down again and it was difficult to see where the track was, but it was the same with the crews who entertained us for the next 90 minutes by spectacularly visiting ditches filled with 3 feet of snow. We were certainly kept busy pushing cars back onto the track.

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The snow got really heavy and we started to think about how we would get home, so we walked back to the finish and dug out our bikes. The return to the van was mostly great fun being downhill. However the cars had polished the surface so we were riding on ice covered with snow which was Ok if you stayed in the wheel tracks. a couple of comedy falls later and a steep push back up Crosscliffe bank and we were back to the van.

So not much riding at all for the effort but the rally more than made up for it. Getting back home was a real bitch. We had to get out via Dalby which took well over an hour and lots of digging and pushing. We made it back to the Moors road just as the radio announced that the road was blocked, so again we turned around and found another way off the moors. The roads all the way home were horrendous, even the A19 was down to a one lane crawl. Eventually we made it home, 5 hours after we had loaded up the bikes in Langdale, tired and exhausted. No rest though as 20 minutes later I was back on the road again battling through to snow to get to a friends 40th birthday party, where I had several well earned pints of ale.

So the final National Status Event of the year might have been a washout but it certainly was eventful. At the time it was pretty grim but looking back now I'd say it was indeed a grand day out!

Huge thanks to the rally organizers for keeping the show off the road, the friendly crews who always are a good craic and most of all to Ian Simonside for taking part in the madness. Sorry to all those who were dissapointed in not getting to the ride, it was the sensible thing to do to stay at home. But sometimes you have to forget being sensible and be a little foolish from time to time. Its always worth it in the end.

Cheers
Si


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:28 pm 
National & North West AEC
National & North West AEC
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Location: Macclesfield Forest
Good effort Si and some great photos.
It's a real shame about the weather with this one.

So when's the next Dalby ride...?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:43 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
retrobike rider / Gold Trader

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More Pics :D

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:53 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
retrobike rider / Gold Trader

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More

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:58 pm 
Old School Grand Master
Old School Grand Master

Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 9:37 am
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Epic. Best thing I've read on this site for months. Thank you :)


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